Reading Challenge 2015: Conquered

I hope everyone had  an excellent Thanksgiving and kickoff to the oft dreaded holiday season.

I have been choosing toys for my son’s Christmas based on their ability to wear him out with minimal effort on my part through the long and cold impending upstate New York winter. Parenting at its finest.

In more blog topic related news, I completed Popsugar’s 2015 Reading Challenge with the sweet cherry on top of Lev Grossman’s Magicians trilogy, and before my goal date of December 1! Victory is mine!!!

A trilogy:

The Magicians trilogy has been described as Harry Potter for grownups, and that it certainly is.  The characters in this book are fiercely brilliant and angsty and depend on magic and childhood fantasies to make them happy, and when that does not work, there is a lot of substance use. Unlike HP, though, there is not a main theme of good vs evil and I appreciated Grossman doing something different with the central component of magic. Instead, the book explores magic as a source of happiness and personal fulfillment for the characters, and like most people they have to learn that personal fulfillment comes from within instead of pursuing something external and depending on that.

If the main character, Quentin, had not changed so much as a character throughout the trilogy I may have struggled more to get through it. He is whiny and spoiled and empty inside and consequently almost intolerable in the first book, and I wondered how the other two would go if at the end of the first one I already wanted to give the protagonist a serious punch in the face.  He is never happy in the first one, he always feels that something is missing when he is completely spoiled. He takes the three books to find himself through magical adventure and mishap and I like the person that he grows into. He grows out of childhood dreams and forges his own way to be happy.

This book is highly imaginative with many plot lines that converge, diverge, and intersect.  As I tend to be with trilogies, the second was probably my favorite of the three and when the second book ended, the twist was so unexpected that I scrambled for the third book and dove into it as quickly as I could.  Grossman keeps the action, the imagination, and the layers coming. I felt addicted to the story in parts, which is saying a lot, because sometimes I find trilogies tiresome, but this one was not tiresome. Relationships between characters are complicated and evolve in the course of the story, Quentin underestimates his peers often, and not everyone feels the same way about the magical land of Fillory. And the language and irony are plain funny in parts, especially into the third book.  I have been trying to read more and more into what makes a story good and applying what I read about what makes good writing and I can see where Grossman has used the tools that make the story as masterful as it is.

I really loved this trilogy and I would recommend it to anyone who loves a book with magic in it.

What trilogy did you read for the challenge?  Leave a comment below!





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